17Dec

Credit Where It's Due

Sitting at a conference last month I was blown away by the range of first class infographics and designs being used in presentations.  What also struck me was how few revealed the name of the designers and authors, which made it difficult to run off and commission something as awesome for myself!  If you are that designer or creator it could impact your morale (and pocket) knowing that business opportunities were passing you by unbeknownst.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to check a few protocols and practices around the office to ensure you start off doing the right thing.  Today’s right thing to check is whether you are respecting “Moral Rights” or causing a morale problem.
Copyright law has a concept called “moral rights”.  The word comes from the French “droit morale” so is nothing to do with ethics and everything to do with being badly done by and feeling badly about it!  It is easier to remember the concept if you remember that poor bird up to its neck in snow, as being the same as a starving artist or creative with low morale in a world disrespecting their skill. 
The rules vary from one side of the Tasman to the other and can vary depending on the type of copyright material involved. To keep this simple I have chosen just one example: A photograph taken by your wife (at the time) used in a blog post. 
Under NZ Law:
She has the right to be named as photographer (tough luck!);
She has the right not to see you claim to have taken the photo; and 
She has a right not to see you doing anything derogatory or debasing with the photo (however tempting it might be).
Under Australian law:
She has the right to be named as photographer (tough luck!);
She has the right not to see you claim to have taken the photo; and 
She may possibly have a right not to see you doing anything derogatory or debasing with the photo (however tempting it might be) if it is really really offensive to her integrity.
The issue of copyright ownership is for another day but while you are having that tidy up might be worth having a look at the original works, which are integral to your business, brand or image and see if your ducks are in a row.
By Jennie Vickers

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